Dear Dumplings — Week 21: Mediocrity. Don’t Embrace It.

BY: | DATE: 15 JUNE 2013 | CATEGORY:

Week 21

Dear Dumplings,

Here I am again, at the height of mediocrity.  I am getting to your weekly letter on the last day.  21 Weeks today … 22 Weeks tomorrow.  I’ll try to keep it short since on Tuesday we get to see you in 3D at Dr. D’s office for your 22 week check-up.

I don’t feel guilty about being late with your letter anymore.  I think it’s in your best interest not to get used to your Mama performing amazing feats of time management … or any feats of time management, for that matter. 

When I was in yoga a couple of weeks ago a women of five month old girl twins came bounding into yoga with her twins in their little infant seats, with matching outfits and headbands … and a body that showed no signs of ever having been pregnant.  I envied her spunk (not to mention the post-pregnancy body) and how she did yoga while entertaining two infants. She looked like a circus act.  She was amazing. 

At first I thought it would be easier to hate her peppy enthusiasm and perfection.  As the class progressed, I continued to think about it and ultimately decided is was easier to hate her because to strive to be like her was more than I could think about in that moment or any moment following it.  You two will be lucky to have matching socks. 

I love this time of year on Facebook.  I scroll down my newsfeed and see all these smiling faces of high school and college graduates getting ready to start their lives. 

They’ve graduated.  They’ve accomplished something.  They have every right to be beaming.

Graduation.  I know it seems like it should be awhile before we think about it … but in today’s world you don your first cap and gown at the tender age of five.

In my newsfeed, amidst all of the accomplished high school and college graduates, I see the smiling kindergarten children wearing caps and gowns. Perhaps I am jealous because I never wore a cap and gown until I was 17?

Your Mama is here to tell you now … you have accomplished nothing worthy of wearing a cap and gown when you are 5.  As cute as those photo-ops may be for your scrapbook, I’m thinking on kindergarten graduation day we might just go get an ice cream cone and be grateful summer is here.  (I say this now, knowing full well if I choose to send you to a place that dresses five year old children up to look like college graduates, your pictures will make the newsfeed.) Of course, the jury is still out on whether you’ll go to public school or get educated at home in a barn … an air conditioned barn. 

What about fifth grade graduations?  I suppose learning to read, spell, divide and multiply is worthy of something.  I’m thinking a day at Six Flags?  Provided we live near one where the flags are over Texas … the one here is creepy.

Eighth grade graduations?  I suppose there are instances where an eighth grade graduation would be an accomplishment, especially if you could look into the future and see who is not going to be graduating from high school.  For some, this might be the only cap and gown they ever wear.  But again, your Mama is not one to reward mediocrity.  This isn’t 1913, it’s 2013.  All kids should strive to make it to their high school graduation. 

So, provided you are not being educated in a barn and we’re not sending you to a 9 zillion dollar a year private school (don’t worry, we won’t be) I suppose we can attend the eighth grade ceremony … unless, of course, you’d rather take a road trip to Anywhere-You-Want-To-Go-Except-That-Silly-Graduation, U.S.A.

At the end of the day, I think if you’ve had three graduation ceremonies before you turn 17 or 18 … is the last one going to have any significance for you?  There are no job applications that have a box asking if you graduated from the eighth grade.  The real world does not care about your accomplishments before you actually accomplish something. 

Your Mama and Daddy do, but are we doing you any favors by playing into this whole charade?

I’m not for having you live in a world where everyone gets a diploma … 3 freaking times … and everyone gets a trophy … and everyone gets a ribbon … the truth is, it seems like a little overkill.  I’m convinced this is some sort of obnoxious new normal brought on by cap and gown rental companies and ribbon and medal makers.  I think if we spend too much time rewarding everyone for everything, then the moments truly worthy of renting the cap and gown or displaying the ribbon, trophy or medal take on equal significance with those that don’t. 

If everyone gets a trophy and a medal and a ribbon for everything, it gives a false sense of accomplishment.  We start to believe we are good at things we’re not that good at.  The things that actually bring us joy, the things that make us feel awesome can be glossed over while we’re collecting another fifth place medal.  (Yes, there are fifth place medals and ribbons.)  One of the greatest gifts your Mama ever got was being told I should not play basketball or be a cheerleader.  The truth is I only ever liked to throw free throws and I didn’t really understand cheer-leading … I still don’t. 

I found the things I was good at.  That is my hope for you, whatever they may be. 

Your Daddy has an amazing gift with words … a gift that puts your Mama to shame.  He’s an incredible athlete, he knows more about sports than Rainman knew about cards … he was on the tennis team.  He’s got a lot of talents and many things he should not be doing (like load the dishwasher).

I wish I was not a master loader, but I have always been good at puzzles.  Dishwashers are like puzzles.  I never considered this a talent until I saw your Daddy’s loading skills. 

We all have gifts, large and small.  Some are hobbies, some are careers, some are just for the love of doing it … and some just are (like loading the dishwasher).  You most certainly will have some of all of these.  Your Daddy and I hope we can help you find them, hone them and grow them. 



P.S.  We’re not really going to keep you home on any graduation day … even graduating from finger painting probably has its merits.  But under my breath, as I write the check to rent the graduation costume and take tons of pictures of you in the ridiculous get up, just know I’ll probably be thinking all of the above … through my tears that you are another year older. 

Leave a Reply